10 March 2012 Douwe de Joode wrote a letter to the editor of NRC Handelsblad asking why his newspaper always mentions which political party a minister is from. “Ministers from the cabinet. Though coming from political parties, they are primarily governers and no longer politicians. They work for all citizens.” The editor completely agreed in the context of constitutional law. But “the moment a minister loses support from his own partij (…) it stops. Unless this minister receives enough support from other factions, but this is seldom the case.” As a second reason to mention the political party is because parties see their minister as advertising. Thanks to a minister you are visible as a party. This could just as well be a reason for the newspaper not to mention the political party. It is free publicity for the party as a ‘brand’.
This shows why it is good to not have ministers come from a political party. Which does not mean such a person should not say what he or she votes or is part of. The most important is to receive and keep the support from a majority of the parliament. This works best for an independent minister by not following any party doctrine or coalition agreement, but the wishes of a majority of the parliament.
This post is also available in: Dutch